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Elected Corruption: Why Mexico's Nascent Youth Movement Continues to Agitate

Some international elections observers have confirmed what many Mexicans thought: the recent elections in Mexico were characterized by massive fraud.

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On June 30, the day before the elections, Yo Soy 132 organized a massive “mega-march” in Mexico City that left from Tlatelolco Plaza (the site of the 1968 student massacre), passed in front of the TV network Televisa’s headquarters and ended at the Zócalo with unprecedented energy.

The students headed out in the early evening, just as it was starting to get dark, and they lit torches and candles while marching, illuminating the darkness by asking for clean and transparent elections. Not since the students’ march in 1968 had anything similar been seen on Mexico City’s busiest streets. The mood was different from other marches; it was much more solemn and organized. Again, the youth were accompanied by people of all ages, who followed the organizers’ instructions throughout. They seemed intent on ushering in a new era of hope and struggle, regaining the dignity of a nation that has been massacred and tortured, and is tired of feeling deceived.

The Yo Soy 132 movement put a spotlight on Mexico’s electoral process not only before the elections but also during and after. Planning ahead days before the pre-elections march, participants set up an information hub at the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City to inform citizens who wanted to know more about how they should behave at marches called by Yo Soy 132, and to invite people to observe the electoral process in every way possible.

“Remember, no money or bribe is worth the future of our country and of all Mexicans,” concludes their video, which asks citizens to watch over polling stations and report possible fraud with cameras, video cameras or cell phones and to send them to an official Yo Soy 132 email.

“Mexico didn’t win, corruption did”

At 11:15 p.m. on July 1, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) released the preliminary results of the elections on national television: victory for Peña Nieto, who had between a 6 and 8 percent lead. But the Program for Preliminary Electoral Results (PREP) would continue running until 8:00 p.m. on July 2.

Josefina Vázquez Mota, the National Action Party (PAN) candidate, recognized her defeat even before the IFE’s initial count was finalized. Felipe Calderón spoke five minutes after the preliminary results were released, designating Peña Nieto “president elect” before all of the votes had even been counted. Calderón declared that “the elections took place in a climate of peace and tranquility in most of the country,” adding that, “there have been some incidents, some of them somewhat worrying, but they have not been the rule.” Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed himself president at 11:40 p.m. on July 1, after giving a speech in which he claimed that “Mexico won.” Most of the major newspapers and media outlets handed the PRI an undisputed victory, even though the results were not yet definitive.

For his part, the Democratic Revolution Party’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador pointed out that the election was not portrayed fairly in the media and that the constitution was violated due to the vast sums of money that the PRI spent on media coverage. He added that he would “wait until the ballot counts were finalized” on July 4 to state his position.

Hours before the first preliminary announcement, Mexican citizens gathered in front of the IFE denouncing their disenfranchisement due to a lack of ballots. “How can they be saying that Mexico has a president if I’m a Mexican citizen and they didn’t let me vote?” asked Miguel, from Playa del Carmen, around midnight in Mexico City’s Zócalo. He was unable to cast his ballot even though at 9 in the morning he had been in line to exercise his right to vote.